Steven Furtick - Come Through Drippin
The scripture, in Exodus 14 is of course all about transition and victory. So it's appropriate for tonight, but let me read it to you, Exodus 14:26, "The Lord said to Moses, 'Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may flow back over the Egyptians, and their chariots and horsemen.' Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at daybreak the sea went back to its place. The Egyptians were fleeing toward it. The Lord swept them into the sea. The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen — the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived.
But the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground with a wall of water on the right..." — Look to your right — "...and on their left..." — Look to your left. Okay, why y'all turn in two different directions? It's a universal kind of thing. "But the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground..." — "But the Israelites..." — This is how you can tell I belong to God; because I went through the sea on dry ground. Do me a favor, since this is a party, everybody participate and look at your neighbor on your right or your left, you choose. I'mma leave that much up to you. But now let me tell you what to tell them. You're gonna give them my title. Tell them this, say, "I don't know what you went through in 2018, but you made it", and tell them, "Since you came through, you might as well 'Come Through Drippin'".
Please be seated. How many of you, 2018 didn't go like you plan for it to go? Messed up your workout plan when your knees started hurting, you were paying off some stuff, and then your transmission, didn't plan for that. Which is why, of course, I don't come up here and do the predictable preaching maneuver where I challenge you to make New Year's resolutions because resolutions are cheap, resilience is priceless.
I wanna lay a foundation for what I wanna say from the text from a study that was done. The article was printed in the New Yorker, several years ago. And I saved it because I thought it would be helpful for us to look at it at some point in the future, and that point is now. And the writer of the article, George Bonanno... Bonanno... if you're watching, George, I tried, was talking about how the central element of resilience is perception, and that, there is no such thing, strictly speaking, as a traumatic event. The reason he came to this conclusion was because he interviewed children, over 600 of them, who had gone through the worst possible situations imaginable and found out that many of the children who went through the worst situations, came out with the greatest emotional stability and sense of connectivity.
And so from that, he concluded, listen, that events are not traumatic until we experience them as traumatic. And he wasn't necessarily negating the post traumatic stress of growing up in a broken home or going to war and coming back to a situation that is so foreign to the experience of the battle that you fought, that you cannot find your own equilibrium. But what he was saying is much deeper than that. He said, that "To call something a traumatic event belies the fact...", and so he coined the term 'PTE', not 'PTSD', which is a very real thing, no doubt. But his term was "potentially traumatic event", which he argues is a more accurate way to look at the things that we go through in our lives. The theory is straightforward, every frightening event, or you might insert painful event, no matter how negative it might seem from the sidelines, has the potential to be traumatic or not to the person experiencing it.
I dunno if you agree with that or it was a little bit boring, and didn't pay much attention, but wake up now. He's making a distinction between what we went through and what we do with what we went through. I couldn't think of a more appropriate group of people to come and share this evening with us, than the Israelites, in this the birth of their nation as such, and their escape from Egypt, where they had been slaves for over 400 years. As God told Abraham that his people would be in Genesis 15, many years earlier, but now, as they are coming out of that season of their life, they are carrying with them much of the trauma from what they experienced in Egypt. And they're escaping this place that had become so painful for them because of the unrealistic and inhumane pressure that they were under, as slaves or servants, in Egypt, under a taskmaster, who did not know Joseph, and did not remember or regard the people of God as special.
The trauma of what they had been through, in that 400 years, would be impossible to cover in 40 minutes tonight, and I hope you'll give me a little grace as I kind of brush past some things that probably, for them, would be much more traumatic, than my summary would lead you to believe, but you understand that, they were so oppressed in this period of being in Egypt; not only were they forced to do a job that they weren't paid for, but they were forced to do it with not enough materials. By the way, have you ever felt that way, like, trying to raise kids and get through life and do what you need to do in the world. And I'm not comparing us to them, but many of the things that they went through, while not similar situationally, might have a similar psychological effect, in that, what they went through had left them traumatized, in a sense.
And tonight, I have to believe that the reason you came here, whether you thought you came here for this reason or not, is that there are some traumas, even if they're micro-traumas, that God wanted to deal with some tears in the tissue of the muscle fiber, that God wanted to deal with, specifically and surgically in the way that only His Spirit can. And He brought you here tonight, maybe under the pretense of just having nothing else to do. Or maybe there was a girl who asked you to come and maybe you're more excited about after church than during church, but you're stuck with me for a few minutes. I'm gonna talk to you for a few minutes while I can, with this microphone, and talk to you about some of the things that you went through. And also I would add to that, that you probably came to celebrate a little bit. I mean, it's not like everybody here tonight had the worst year of their life. I can never understand that, why we're so hasty, to wanna leave this year.
One of the ways I can tell when my life is out of alignment is when I'm in a hurry for no good reason. Like, it's one thing to be in a hurry and there's a reason that I'm in a hurry and I can point to the next thing on my schedule that I'm trying to get to. But when I'm in too much of a hurry, and there's nowhere that I'm going, it's a sign that something is wrong in my life. It's a sign that something is not working right. And so now we find the Israelites, not serving Pharaoh and building the different construction projects that he has ordered to be built, but they are escaping Egypt, which is interesting in itself. Because originally, they escaped to Egypt because there was a famine at home. But over a period of many years and a transition of leadership, what they escaped to, they became enslaved by.
Sometimes this happens in all of our lives, is that we're so tired of being alone, that we escaped to a relationship that in the end produces a worse loneliness than being alone ever could. Sometimes we cried tears because we escaped to something that we ultimately become enslaved by. Sometimes the thing that we run to is more dangerous than the thing that we're running from. And it wasn't their fault. Sometimes we make decisions to run to certain things, but really, they had to go to Egypt, not only to fulfill the prophecy, which extended into the New Testament, which we know at Christmastime, that "out of Egypt, I've called my Son," which ultimately projects into the very life of Jesus Christ, Himself.
It's an arc of a narrative that God was creating for deliverance for His people before they were ever born. But, now they're in transition, and transition is traumatic. Even the good kind. Even when God blesses you in the way that you asked Him to, a lot of times, you find out that what you asked God for, weighed more than you were prepared to care. Have you ever had your prayer request turn into your praise report and then turn back into your prayer request? And so transition is traumatic. Whether I'm devolving into a dire circumstance, or whether God is elevating me and developing me into something greater, transition is always traumatic, and so, perhaps tonight you're not bringing your traumas to church, maybe you're bringing some trophies to church.
I had a pretty good year. You know, some things happened for me this year that I never thought could happen. Some things happened to me this year that, that I really had looked forward to for a long time. But I had some things happen for me this year, like I had a breakthrough in an area that I'd been running up against the same thing over and over again, I had a breakthrough somebody that I was praying for, they got better this year, something that I've been struggling with for a long time I don't struggle with it as much anymore. I mean it's still there. But it's not overwhelming me, it's not overcoming me. It hadn't been as dark this year. I've experienced some of the goodness of the Lord that, at once, I only forecasted, this year came into my life and it reigned over my life.
And I'm here tonight, not only to bring before the Lord my traumas, but my trophies, because I wanna acknowledge before my blessings, turn into pride, that I wanna turn back to praise God for every victory that He gave me this year, and make no mistake about it, every mountain that I stood on this year, I did not get there alone. Not at all. I'm not smart enough, I'm not sharp enough. I'm not connected enough. And so, whatever state of transition, we find ourselves in any given moment of our life, it can be traumatic. Yet the man said that, "The experience is not inherent in the event rather it is your perception of the event, and how much resilience you have".
The children of Israel were nothing if not resilient. They were resilient. Even when they didn't have a lot of resources, they were resilient. Even when they were complaining, they were resilient. Even when they had a bad attitude, they were resilient. In fact, the Bible says something kind of weird, it says that the more that Pharaoh oppressed them, the more they multiplied. And I don't know if I'm looking at anybody tonight that just turned stuff into this year that transformed and converted stuff this year that happened in your life that might have caused other people to quit. But look at you, in church, after all that. Come on, nudge somebody next to you say, "After all that, look at me. After all that, I'm still cute. After all that, I'm not petty or bitter, after all that".
Don't get me wrong, I have a reason to be and I could be in a sour state of mind tonight. But I decided to do it differently this year; I decided to bring all my trauma and all my trophies into the presence of God. Come on, it somebody, say, "I came through". Now one difference between us and the Israelites is that they came through something physical that you could see, did you see it in the text? It's really beautiful how the text paints the picture. And it's not only the event that it describes, but it's the entire trajectory of deliverance that is depicted in the whole book of Exodus, which is one of the major themes of the Bible from beginning to end.
For many years. I thought salvation was just what we were saved from. But the big picture of God's purpose for your life and my life is what we're saved to. And so on this journey to freedom, not just from sin, but freedom to, they're going... This is the crazy thing about God, when He brings you out of something, He does not let you choose your escape root. Because I should probably talk about this, because there is a Bible verse that says, "God will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, that with the temptation, He will provide the way of escape," but it promises, "He will provide the way of escape". It does not promise that He will let you pick the way of escape. It is not a multiple choice. It is not a "Choose Your Own Adventure" escape route.
So God's way of escape is not up for debate. When God calls you out, He leads you sometimes in strange ways. Which is why they must have been so disappointed when Moses took them on those back country roads to camp out right in front of the Red Sea, because it woulda been shorter, even the Bible says it woulda been shorter, it wasn't just their opinion, the Bible says it would've been shorter if they would've gone through Philistine country, but they weren't ready for war yet. A lot of times when God brings you from point A to point B, He takes you on a zigzag because He knows — and I don't mean to hurt your feelings — how fragile your faith is, even if you don't.
So He brings them out on a way of escape, that to them, must've seen long, but they could deal with it, they didn't complain about that. What must have seemed really weird to them, was when they heard the wheels of the chariots, the horsepower of the engines, of Pharaoh's 600 chosen chariots, coming up behind them, when they thought they had left Egypt and they were done with that. Now we're at the text, in verse 26, where the Lord said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand..." — I'm so excited to share this with you. God showed me something this week that was so cool, because the first time Moses stretched out his hand, witch had a staff in it, the sea parted so that the Israelites could go through, so that they could walk through what they shouldn't have been able to walk through.
Now, there are some things that God did in your life this year, with a strong East wind, that if He didn't do those things, you wouldn't have been able to go through. Within yourself, come on, admit it, within your own strength, with your DNA, and with your dad and your mom and their genes still kicking around in a cage fight inside of you, you would not have gone through it, you would've stopped in the middle of it, and you would've drowned. But one thing about God is, He is only known by the evidence of what He does, He is not experienced directly. The Bible says that the reason they went through is because the wind blew from the East and made the waters stand at attention so that the people could go through.
Now you can't see wind, you can only see the effects of the wind. You asked me how I know God is real. I can't point to His nose or His ears. I've never heard His audible voice. But there are just some things in my life, that don't make sense unless there was a wind blowing. There are just some things, how 'bout you? There are just some things that I went through that I know me, and I would not have had the grace to go through it if there hadn't been something working with me.
Now let's get into the text. This is a good part. Touch somebody, say, "Come through". So Moses is stretching out his staff so the people can come through. I'm trying to get you tonight. I'm trying to get you tonight to come through. I think it would be ashamed for you to be stuck in an inferior version of yourself clutching onto a beta blessing when there is an update available in this house tonight by the Spirit of God. So I'm trying to get you to come through. But by the time Verse 26 hits, they've already done that. They're already on the other side. I mean, you already made it through 2018. You don't have to come to church for that. The odds are good you wouldn't have died over these three hours that you're gonna be in church. You were good. That's not why you came. That is not why you came.
And sometimes we get so focused on whatever we went through... and it makes sense because it's traumatic. I get it. Well, I really don't. I shouldn't say that. That's not fair for me to say 'cause I don't know what you went through. So how dare me stand up here and say, "I know what you..." I don't know. I know what I went through this year, and it wasn't all stuff that you could see, like this water that was on either side of the Israelites. To me, it'd be easier if everybody could watch you go through what you went through so they could have some pity on you and be extra nice to you and give you extra sprinkles on your cupcakes because after all if I went through what you went through, I'd be in a bad mood too.
Wouldn't it be cool if everybody could see what you went through and they could experience, you know, it'd be nice. But every storm that we survived this year wasn't something that other people could see. It's one thing when you walk through something physical. Like certain things you go through, people see you going through it and it's like, "Man, I heard your husband has cancer. We got you. We'll pray for you. We're gonna get through this together. You're gonna come through this. We're gonna do it". When you lose your job, you know, people hear about that. Maybe you don't even want 'em to, but they hear about it and then it's kind of embarrassing on one hand because everybody's coming up to you, "You know, we're praying for you. If you need anything, let us know. I know you're going through right now".
And although that's a little humiliating on one hand, it's helpful on the other because then you get to be the beneficiary of other people's empathy and maybe even their material support. What's a little different is when the thing that you went through is something that you can point to and directly name because sometimes I find myself going through things that aren't like the Red Sea. It's not something I can exactly describe to you. Did you ever go through something and while you were going through it, you didn't even know what it was? Just a funk, just a thing, just some stuff, just I'm going through. I even tell some people that from time to time that pray for me, I'm like, "I'm just going through". I can't say what, I don't even know. It's like, the Bible describes the arrow by day or the terror at night.
And sometimes I think about what you go through in the night is you can't exactly see it to name it or to know what it is. And in the passage that I'm preaching from tonight, they were going through what they went through, was able to be seen visibly. But maybe what you went through this year wasn't. Maybe it was a divorce, maybe it was just a loveless home, but you're so good at faking other people out that they're all praying they could have a marriage like yours, meanwhile yours is falling apart. Some of the things that you go through... what happened to the praise party? Some of the things you go through aren't so simple. Now although this is dramatic, one advantage that they had is they went through it together.
By this time, the Israelites are millions strong and to go through something with others who were going through the same thing that you're going through is one thing. When the stock market sucks, it sucks for all of us. We get to go through that together. When the government is out of control, we all go through that together. But there's something about the things that you go through that nobody is going through with you that makes it difficult for you to know is there something wrong with me, am I the only one who feels this way, am I the only one who wants to quit, am I the only one who wonders, "God, are you really even there or is this thing I've been believing my whole life just a fairy tale that my parents told me like Santa Claus"?
Some of the things that we went through this year were invisible. Some of the things we went through this year were emotional states and there wasn't even always something that caused it. It would be nice if there was. The miracle is in what they went through. The proof that you belong to God is not that you didn't go through, but that what you went through didn't kill you. I'm gonna need you to shout right here on this point whether you feel it or not on every location. Come on, tell somebody I went through. I went through. I figured if I stand here in front of this Red Sea, I'm gonna die at the hands of the same Egyptians that have been terrorizing me, but I'm not gonna stand here and die. If I'm gonna die, I wanna drown. I'm going through. I'm going through. If I'm gonna die, I'm gonna die on my feet. I'm going through.
God said, "Don't you spend this whole sermon talking about what they went through". He said, "Right in the middle of the sermon, I want you to shift it from what they went through to why they went through". And now we need to go back to the text because remember, there's water on their right side, water on their left side. For their enemies, it was a trap, but for them, it was a path. And now they're on the other side and so it seems strange that God would tell them to do anything other than run.
But He tells Moses to do something that God wants you to do tonight. And He says I want you to take the instrument in your hand, that is a symbol of your past, that is a symbol of the mistakes that you made when you killed the Egyptian, Moses, and ran and hid him in the sand and hid yourself. The staff that is the symbol of your potential. The same one that you used to turn Nile River to blood in those ten plagues of Egypt. I want you to take that same instrument and before you leave Egypt, stretch it back over what you just went through. And when you do, you will understand the purpose of what you went through. God brought you here tonight — If I can be so bold just to say that I believe this applies to everyone in the room who will have the faith to receive it because He wants to use what you went through.
That's the good news. Gotta tell you the whole thing. God wants to use what you went through and so does the devil. And the question in this moment is will you allow God to use what you went through? Watch this. And when He had finished leading an entire nation all night long in the dark with water that could collapse on them at any moment, don't you think they moved fast through this tunnel of supernatural, miraculous potential death that at any moment could sweep them away and they make it to the other side and God says, "Stop. Before you take another step, I need you to stretch your hand back over what you just went through".
The water that you just went through was not sent to destroy you. Can I tell you something? Everything that made you afraid this year was not the devil. Everything that made you cry this year was not the devil. Everything that broke your heart this year was not the devil. Everything that you lost this year was not the devil. Everything that didn't go according to plan this year was not the devil. Some of the stuff that was sent against you was not sent to destroy you. At the time, it felt like it would. At the time, you felt like you would never be happy again. At the time, you felt like you would just drive away and never come back. At the time, you felt like you would never find that love, that passion, that feeling again. At the time, it felt like it would kill you. But the thing that you went through was not meant to destroy you. And when you stretch your hand over what you went through, what you went through is going to deliver you from what you just came out of.
Let me see if I got this right. What I went through could have killed me, but it didn't. Hit somebody, say, "But it didn't". It didn't. I could have laid down and died in what I went through. Touch them, say, "But I didn't". Tell 'em, "I could've lost my mind". But I don't know, maybe you did. But here's the point of the message. Here's the point of the message, whatever you went through that did not destroy you, God is now going to use to deliver you. Come to this side to see if you believe the Word of God. It's in the B-I-B-L-E. He said what you just went through, if you will stop at this moment, at this juncture, in this time, in this season, and stretch your hand over what you went through, it's not meant to kill you. It's meant to kill your enemies. It was never gonna kill you. No weapon formed against you shall prosper.
Now I know why I went through. There were some things that God had to kill so they wouldn't kill me. That's why I went through. God had to deal with some things in me. Enemy. Enemy. God had to drown some of my enemy. That's why I went through. So when I look back over at what I thought I wouldn't get through and I see — look at Verse 30. I didn't give you that, did I? I forgot to give you Verse 30. I'm so sorry. And so when they looked back... "That the Lord saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore".
Now, what do you wanna look at this year? What you went through or what God did in you through what you went through? God deliver me. You know He's not gonna do that in a cute, comfortable, convenient place. And the Lord gave me this word, it's more like an image from the text. He said that Moses, the way I saw it in my mind was that the water had done something supernatural all night long so the Israelites could get through. God kept stuff away from you this year so you could get through. But when the time came for them to leave, God said, "Stop". You got 22 minutes left in the year and before you're in such a hurry to get out, turn around, and stretch, verse 28, "Stretch your staff and the water flowed back and covered the chariots". "The water flowed back..." So it had been like this and then it went like that and then the enemies went like that and the people of God went like that.
So God said to tell you it's time for you to flip the flow. Touch the person on either side of you and see if they can get it, say, "Flip the flow". It's been going this way, it's been going this way, all year long it's been going this way, but tonight we came to flip the flow. And everything that was against me this year, now Romans 8:28 says... oh, I got a New Testament verse too, "That all things work together for the good of them that love the Lord".
Is that you? Do you still love Him? Is He still your friend? Do you still trust Him after what you went through? If that's you, then all things work together. High five 18 people, say, "Flip the flow". Flip the flow. Flip the flow. Instead of concentrating on all the moments that it didn't go your way this year, flip the flow. What went right? What did work out? Who did stay? Who did give you a hug? How did He meet your needs? How did He come through? Did He come through for you? Flip the flow. And stop focusing so much on what you did or didn't get. Maybe it isn't about what God wanted to do for you this year as much as it is about what He wants to do through you in the future.